A paediatrician has been arrested after allegedly waterboarding his 11-year-old daughter as a form of punishment.
Police said Melvin Morse, 58, would hold his daughters face under running water until she feared she would drown – the same technique once used by US forces interrogating terror suspects.
Morse and his wife Pauline were arrested on Tuesday after neighbours claimed they saw the doctor dragging the girl across a gravel driveway and spanking her.
The unnamed 11-year-old then told police that her father had used the water torture technique four times between 2009 and last year.
“Melvin would sometimes look away while he did it and [the girl] would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die,” according to a police document seen by the News Journal, a Delaware newspaper. The girl also told police that Mrose had said she could be put under water for five minutes without suffering brain damage.
Morse published a book in 1991 entitled “Closer to the Light: Learning From the Near-Death Experiences of Children.”
The book details the accounts of children who came close to death, including those who claim to have experienced out-of-body experiences and encounters with dead relatives.
Both Morse and his wife were charged with reckless endangerment, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child.
The girl and her five-year-old sister were taken into state custody.
Waterboarding was regularly used against detainees at the US military’s base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but was banned by the Obama administration in 2009.
Interrogators would place a wet cloth over the prisoner’s face and pour water on it until the detainee felt like they could no longer breath.
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